The U.S. at a glance ...
Mayor’s immigration defiance: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared this week that he would not cooperate with any attempt by a Trump administration to deport illegal immigrants, pledging that Chicago will remain a so-called sanctuary city. “To all those who are, after [the] election, very nervous and filled with anxiety, you are safe in Chicago,” Emanuel said. Chicago has been a sanctuary city for more than three decades, with local laws that prohibit police officers and government workers from asking about residents’ immigration status or sharing that information with federal immigration authorities. Trump has promised to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities and proposed deporting up to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Since the election, a number of major cities have affirmed their commitment to remaining immigrant sanctuaries, including New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
Trump U lawsuit delay? Lawyers for Donald Trump asked a federal judge this week to postpone a fraud trial over the now-defunct Trump University until after their client’s inauguration, arguing that Trump will be too busy to attend court proceedings scheduled for later this month. The 2010 class-action lawsuit accuses Trump and the for-profit Trump University of misleading customers who signed up for pricey real-estate seminars, falsely telling them that instructors had been handpicked by Trump and that the organization was an accredited university. The suit is one of two pending before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump accused of being biased against him because of Curiel’s Mexican heritage. There is precedent for sitting presidents to face pending lawsuits. The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 in a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton that suits can go forward against presidents for actions they took before assuming office.
Clay, W. Va.
Racist row over first lady: The mayor of the tiny West Virginia town of Clay resigned this week after she commented favorably on a racist Facebook post that called first lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels.” The offensive remark was made by another local official, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who wrote after the election that “it will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady back in the White House”—a reference to Donald Trump’s wife, Melania. “I’m tired of seeing a ape in heels,” added Taylor, to which Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling replied, “Just made my day pam:” Their comments were soon deleted but were captured in screenshots and shared by thousands on social media. Taylor was fired from her job. Whaling apologized and resigned soon after, saying that she hadn’t intended to be racist and was “referring to my day being made for change in the White House.”
Hot-car murder: An Atlanta-area man was convicted this week of malice murder and cruelty to children for the 2014 hot-car death of his 22-month-old son. Justin Ross Harris, 35, was accused of deliberately leaving his toddler, Cooper, strapped in his car seat for seven hours as temperatures outside the vehicle hit nearly 90 degrees. Harris’ attorneys said the incident had been a tragic case of absentmindedness and that their client accidentally “forgot” to drop the boy at day care before going to work at Home Depot. But prosecutors argued that Harris was eager to flee family responsibilities, revealing that he had been sexting that day with six women, including a minor. Harris messaged one woman just minutes before he locked Cooper in the car, telling her, “I love my son and all, but we both need escapes.” Days earlier, he had gone online to research hot-car deaths.
New York City
Trump Tower security ‘nightmare’: Traffic in midtown Manhattan was severely snarled this week as the streets around Trump Tower, home to the president-elect and the Trump Organi zation, were closed to cars and dotted with security checkpoints. The FAA declared the airspace above the building a no-fly zone until Inauguration Day, and rows of sand-filled dump trucks were parked outside the building to protect it from truck bombs. The 58-story tower sits on Fifth Avenue, one of the city’s busiest shopping and business thoroughfares, and presents unprecedented security challenges for the Secret Service and the NYPD. Trump has suggested that he would like to continue to spend time at his three-floor tower apartment as president. But NYPD officials have said that permanently closing a stretch of one of the city’s major avenues would be a nightmare that “can’t happen.”
GOP unity: Congressional Republicans projected a united front this week, donning matching “Make America Great Again” red baseball caps after the House GOP unanimously backed Rep. Paul Ryan for another term as speaker. “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government,” Ryan said, adding that he would work “hand in glove” with Donald Trump. In recent weeks, rumors had circulated that the Wisconsin Republican could face a leadership challenge from conservatives who were unhappy that Ryan distanced himself from Trump before the election. But Trump’s win and the GOP’s strongerthan-expected showing at the polls helped propel Ryan to an easy victory. Despite the display of party solidarity, stark differences remain between Ryan and Trump. Trump has rejected policy proposals important to Ryan, including cutting Social Security and Medicare, while Ryan has talked down Trump’s plan to spend $550 billion over the next decade on upgrading the nation’s infrastructure.